The area of what has become known as Alice Springs …

Comment on Todd River: will we stand by and let the worst happen? by Hal Duell.

The area of what has become known as Alice Springs is currently experiencing its third social evolutionary change. Probably this evolution is the main reason why we can no longer have a wild bush river.
Where we live was first a pristine wilderness, and at that time the river would have truly been a wild bush river.
In the first change the area became Mbantua, a word that I understand simply means a meeting place. The changes from what was before would have been minimal. The wild and the bush qualities would have undergone almost no change.
In the second change, Mbantua became A Town Like Alice. Those living in Mbantua would have been shocked and resentful, and they resisted. Their river became the Todd River. It was partially tamed by the emergence of an outback town with its connecting causeways and bridges, its roads and railroads. But a small population would have allowed the wild bush river to remain mostly a wild bush river.
In the third change, the one we are living through today, A Town Like Alice is becoming Alice Springs, a fully urban multicultural Australian municipality. And the pressures of urban life, not all of them a comfortable experience, dictate that the wild and the bush be tamed and set aside for the healthy growth of the greater municipality.
Again there are some who are shocked and resentful, and who are resisting this latest change.
There are kilometers of river both north and south of Alice where biodiversity will continue to thrive. Setting aside a mere five kilometres threatens no species’ survival.
Waterholes, our billabongs, abound in the ranges east and west of Alice. We have our own recreation and a tourist industry that depends on their good health.
To take a whipper snipper to buffel grass to reduce the potential for tree-eating fires is not to make a lawn.
If the sand in Heavitree Gap is now one meter higher than it once was, doesn’t it follow that the riverbed upstream from the Gap is also higher? And wouldn’t lowering it allow more floodwater to escape before breaking the banks and flooding the town?
Rerouting the Ghan and elevating the highway would certainly increase the Todd’s flow, but where will that money come from?
Does anyone still think the culverts at the Taffy Pick crossing are a good idea?
The idea of a River Curator certainly has merit, but only if the curator understands the Todd River is a living, vibrant component of Alice Springs and not a museum where the artifacts must be shielded from threatening change. I would also hope a curator would be employed by our Town Council as that is the only democratically elected body in Alice answerable to all the town’s residents.

Hal Duell Also Commented

Todd River: will we stand by and let the worst happen?
I’m very glad to hear that the Athel Pines still in Alice will be going soon. Having seen what they did in the Finke River around Horseshoe Bend homestead, I cannot find any sympathy for them at all.
About the other trees Mike says are listed as weeds by Greening Australia, I have no opinion other than to hope that if they are removed, they are replaced so we can retain a riverside parkland along Stott Tce. That area really is a well-used and much loved pride of the river.
Have the seeds dropped into the Todd River by these mature exotics resulted in new growth downstream? Or will they be forced to go just because they are something new, just because they haven’t been here forever and a day?
I hope Greening Australia is not listing as weeds any tree not originally a native of Central Australia. I would hate to see a crusading nutter insist Alice lose the citrus and mulberry trees so many of us have in our yards and eat from when in fruit.


Todd River: will we stand by and let the worst happen?
Mike
I agree with you about the necessity to control weeds in the Todd River. Mexican Poppy and Athol Pine would be among the front line offenders. I am sure you would agree that they need to be eradicated wherever they are found in or adjacent to the river system.


Todd River: will we stand by and let the worst happen?
According to the Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia, the Todd River is 272km long. A mere 5km flows through Alice Springs between the Telegraph Station Reserve and Heavitree Gap.
I am intrigued by Jane Clark’s question – how long until the river system reaches the tipping point? How many years do we actually have left?
For a lot of the old trees, time’s up. The arsonists have done for them.
But for the watercourse itself, it will remain a watercourse even if the riverbed fills with silt, spills out into the town and Alice reaches a tipping point.
To argue against doing anything is akin to the climate change deniers. Good arguments can be deployed to challenge the science of climate change, but meanwhile the arctic sea ice is shrinking, the glaciers are melting, etc.
In Alice Springs, the Todd is being choked by sand islands anchored by couch and buffel, the trees are being burned out by arsonists and the Town Council needs to grasp the nettle and assume control.
But then we come to Jane’s other question – who pays?
Good question, that.


Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Open doors, not flogging, will reduce juvenile offending
If only it were so.
As much as I respect the years’ long dedicated work this author has contributed to youth issues in Central Australia, foremost among which being his largely successful work in eliminating the scourge of petrol sniffing out on the Homelands, here I think he is glossing over the issue. “Naughty” not only doesn’t begin to cover it, but is both misleading and trivializing.
The kids in question here are not naughty, but actual criminals engaged in criminal activities.
I, too, have seen Tangentyere Day Patrol on our streets this summer engaging with youth on the streets, and I applaud their efforts. And I have long supported the Gap Youth Centre as a community effort to engage and support youth in the Gap.
But once it and other dedicated outreach centres close for the night, what happens then?
Many go home to what homes they have, but a significant minority do not.
They roam the streets knowing full well that any interaction with the NT Police will be one-sided in their favour.
The police are obliged to back down once any confrontation with under-aged youth takes place. And don’t the kids just know it!
The sad truth is that the line of departing families is growing, while those of us who are staying rely on tall fences, locked gates and barking dogs to ensure out safety and well-being. And until someone, anyone and I don’t care who, can deal effectively with this current and local scourge, the fences, gates and dogs will remain.


What REALLY goes on in our streets: Youth worker
As happens so often these days, Jacinta Price stands tall as an example of a concerned Australian talking common sense. Family responsibility seems to be her mantra when discussing the social ills bedeviling Alice.
And we all know she is right, all that is except for those denizens of the politically correct swamp who would rather further fracture as opposed to heal. They remind me of nothing so much as baby chicks still in the nest, impotent little wings flapping, beaks open and a chorus of gimme gimme gimme gimme.
Walking around town, especially through the shopping centres and the hospital, and the conclusion that this is an Indigenous town is inescapable.
No problem there, but what this means is that the way forward not only has to come from them, but it can only come from them.
Our Town Council would do well to recognize this. Otherwise they risk being consigned to the status of an irrelevant elite watching from behind their fences as our town burns.
And let’s not even talk about Darwin. They may hold immense power over us, but without question they are as useless as teats on a bull.


Lasseters private enterprise beacon in stagnant town
I’m with Scotty on this one. If New Year’s Eve was anything to go by, Animal Bar is putting it mildly.
If Lasseters is having trouble coping with its clientele, they might think about taking a page out of the Gap Hotel’s playbook. Multi-ethnic, multi-racial and zero humbug. An example well worth considering.
And as to John Bell’s suggestion that an irresistible offer from China for Uluru is not far off, if the Vietnamese can gain a 99 year concession to run Angkor Wat, which I was told was the case when I visited Cambodia a couple years ago, then this might not be such a far fetched idea.


Local government: A lot of action beyond the 3Rs
@ Leigh Childs, Posted December 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm: Yes, but not for some years now. And I agree that Broken Hill’s size, history and location make it a much better fit for comparison to Alice than does Murray Bridge.
What I remember is an interesting town on the road between east and west (Alice is between north and south), a hub for the surrounding area, a sculpture park on the top of a hill, the uncanny familiarity of nearby Mutawintji National Park, and marveling at how the local government managed to build all the infrastructure even a small town needs with steep hills and a hard rock base to work with, at least in the central area.
Good point. They seemed to be in the process of reinventing themselves in the years when I was passing through, and it’s good to think they have kept going.


Town still upset with Stuart statue, say researchers
Long live Stuart the Explorer and Two-Up the Bunny! Long may they stand with the Undoolya Perenti as monuments to Alice Springs’ artistic identity.
More would be better. Where is the Indigenous hero to join Stuart along Stuart Terrace? We all know Council would fall over themselves to balance the story being told there.
Mark Egan has created a couple of outstanding examples up the track at Aileron, but whether he would again willingly venture into the hotbed of PC naval gazing that seems to be the default atmosphere here is another question.


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